Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Doug's List 2010

When you see as many shows as we did in 2010 it's easy to allow a gem to fall through the crinkly cracks of our diminishing human RAM. Which is to say when we take the time to review what we saw last year, we are astonished at how many standouts there were.

From January's brilliant "Animals out of Paper" at SF Playhouse through December's innovative masterpiece "Lemony Snicket: The Composer is Dead" at Berkeley Rep, we saw musicals, dramas and comedies on big stages and little stages, under tents, in playhouses and in the park. Some companies lavished $$Big Bucks$$ on their productions and some barely had money for extra shoe laces, but rich or poor, with casts of 1 or 40, the common denominator was excellence. What a great year.

Here are our favorite shows of the year 2010, by month, with links to their reviews. Some months there were several bedazzlers but we have restricted our list to a dozen. Thank you to all the brilliant actors and playwrights, artistic directors and producers, lighters, stagers, costumers and musicians. Thanks, too, to our fellow reviewers. Our opinions are not always the same but we all have a profound appreciation of the immensity of the task at hand: to unearth a great story and let the audience in on the secret.

Here we go:

January: "Animals Out of Paper" at San Francisco Playhouse.

February: "Oedipus El Rey" (adapted by Loretta Greco) at the Magic.

March: "The Real Americans" (Dan Hoyle) at the Marsh

April: (no winner)

May: "Peter Pan" under the tent on the Embarcadero

June: "The Tosca Project" at A.C.T.

July: "Auctioning the Ainsleys" at Theaterworks

August: "The Light in the Piazza" (Adam Guittel), also at Theaterworks

September: "Olive Kittredge" (Word 4 Word) at Z Space

October: West Side Story" at the Orpheum

November: "Or" at the Magic

December (2): "Shrek" at the Orpheum and "Lemony Snicket: The Composer is Dead" at Berkeley Rep.

There are others good enough to have made the cut had the competition not been so stiff. Several that stick in the memory are Alice Childress's "Trouble in Mind" at the Aurora, Terrell Alvin McCraney's "The Brothers Size" at the Magic and Steven Adly Giurgis's "Den of Thieves" at SF Playhouse.

How good is that? And it's only going to get better. See you all next January One.

-- Doug

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